Carlo Traversi has made the second ascent of Beth Rodden’s Meltdown 5.14c in Yosemite, one of the world’s most difficult cracks.
Traversi made the second ascent after years of sporadic projecting. He first tried it in 2013.
He returned in 2014 and found new beta, got close in 2015 and didn’t find great conditions in 2016 or 2017. “This season it all came together,” he said in his write up below.
Meltdown. What a ride. First tried this beautiful line in 2013 and got completely shut down. Couldn’t figure out how to stand on the absolutely miserable footholds. The next year I tried again and solved the crux, a desperate lie back section on gently overhanging granite while smearing on glass. I thought everything would come together quickly after that but I was wrong. It’s one thing to climb through a difficult section, it’s another to be relaxed enough while you’re doing it to not burn yourself out for the rest of the route. I top roped it clean at the end of 2015, got desperately close on lead, and then proceeded to go to war with the weather through 2016 and 2017. This season it all came together. A dry Fall and this week the colder temps are just sweeping into the Valley. Yesterday I was able to climb it on my 3rd try of the day after a couple weird slips after the crux on the first two tries. All gear was placed on lead, after the first piece was placed I climbed back down to the ground to re-chalk and re-compose. The climbing went smoothly including the placement of the final #4 @blackdiamond Stopper which is always a tricky one to get in. A massive thanks to @marymeck for all the days supporting me in the Valley through some of the coldest times. And my brother @gtraversi for standing in knee deep ice water in underwear in freezing temps to belay when the pool at the base of the route filled up. Last but not least a huge thanks to @bethrodden for the vision, tenacity, and incredible climbing ability that brought this route to life over 10 years ago. The First Ascent of this route is a benchmark in the history of climbing and is one of the most impressive achievements I can think of in the last few decades. Respect. Photo by @bearcam. @blackdiamond @blackdiamond_climb @fiveten_official @frictionlabs @theboulderfield
Traversi competed at a number of world cups and has ticked two 5.14d lines, he recently repeated Ethan Pringle’s Everything is Karate 5.14c/d.
The first ascent of the 20-metre Meltdown was on Valentine’s Day in 2008 by Rodden, one of the strongest crack climbers in the world at the time.
Notable attempts by Ron Kauk (who bolted the anchor and first tried the line), Enzo Oddo and Tommy Caldwell assured the climbing world that the grade was on point.
“There comes a time in everyone’s climbing life when they find a route that really captivates them,” said Rodden in a Climbing magazine article. “I don’t think it is limited to just one, or even two or more. But for every climber there are routes that get their attention for whatever reason—history, aesthetics, movement, the unknown.”
“The few months prior to Meltdown, I wanted to repeat some of the single-pitch climbs around Yosemite and give my body and mind a break from the demands of El Cap climbing,” Rodden said in 2008.
Before her first ascent of Meltdown, she had freed Lurking Fear VI 5.13c, El Corazon VI 5.13b and the Nose VI 5.14a.
“In the fall, Upper Cascade Creek has a calming white-noise charm to it, but as the river grows, it creates an intensity that highlights the countdown of days until the route becomes unclimbable due to spray and wetness,” said Rodden.
“I was barely able to do it before the waterfall got too big.”